Chapter 3: Killing the Brave
Xue Wei said nothing as the two walked out of the mansion. He had not left the house since they arrived. He had forgotten even arriving at the mansion, and thus everything was new and scary to him.
He had not even been out in the gardens; all his time had been spent in his room or the library.
Xue Wei was nervous. He looked down and felt as if everyone they passed by were looking at him, staring at him and whispering about him.
Now and then he could hear the voices comment about him saying words like "trash," "useless," "Xiao Lei and his nephew,"
Hearing these words, again and again, he walked faster and faster to get away from the voices that reverberated through his head, but suddenly he felt a warm hand on his shoulder, and he looked up to see a worried expression on Xiao Lei's face.
"I can't let him worry about me," Xue Wei thought to himself as he saw the worried expression on his uncle’s face. He took a deep breath and sent a smile to Xiao Lei.
"Don't worry uncle," he smiled, "I am just not used to the bright sunlight. I did not know it would be this blinding."
This excuse was rather good. The sun was truly strong, and it shone down on them, blinding people all the time.
Seeing the smile on Xue Wei's face, Xiao Lei felt slightly troubled. He understood that Xue Wei did not want to make him worry, but he wanted to be relied on. Thinking like this, he started to worry about Xue Wei and whether or not he should have taken him out for this trip.
"I am fine," Xue Wei assured Xiao Lei and nodded his head. "I might be trash, but I am your nephew. Just because I cannot enter the battlefield, I might be able to assist in other ways,"
"Let us meet the Shen family. I am sure that we will be great friends in the future."
Xiao Lei smiled at Xue Wei’s pushiness and knew that this incident had sparked something inside of the younger boy, making something start to change. He was on the path to become someone who would not hide himself away. This could especially be seen with how he held his head high and the insecure air around him slowly changed to one of complete disregard for all the people who gossiped about him.
Still, although he was so indifferent, Xiao Lei felt his own anger rising more and more whenever he heard the word trash; the fires of anger and hate burned inside of him.
The ones who were busiest discussing him were all mortals or ordinary warriors. None of them were of the higher ranks, as they had sensed the murderous atmosphere around Xiao Lei and had retreated fast.
When they were halfway through town, Xiao Lei's mood had turned so sour that his eyes were flashing with anger and murderous thoughts.
"To think that a hero like Xiao Lei, a Primordial Beast Hunter like him, has to look after such a weak and feeble kid who cannot even cultivate," someone suddenly said in the crowd, and others nodded their heads – someone even injected, "He is a Heavenly Warrior, something that one can only achieve if they are a once-in-a-generation genius, but now his nephew is trash, useless to the extreme."
"Who said that?!" Xiao Lei could no longer stand the mocking and stopped right in his tracks, reaching out and stopping Xue Wei as well.
Xiao Lei's eyes roamed over the crowd, and his magnificent aura was released. It was as if a sovereign was standing on top of a mountain and looking down on his subjects, ready to sentence them to death.
"Whoever has the guts to say that my nephew is useless, I dare them to step forward," Xiao Lei said in a dangerously low voice, and his eyes narrowed slightly.
He already knew who had spoken, but he was testing them. These experts were all ordinary warriors at most, and although they could barely pass as cultivators, they were nothing more than chickens on the chopping block to Xiao Lei.
One of the experts stepped forward. "I said he was trash," he said bravely while pushing out his chest. "We have all served our time in the war to protect humanity, and that boy will never serve in any war, which makes him the trash of society!"
Before the man had the chance to say another word, Xiao Lei flicked his fingers, and a gleam of light appeared. No one was able to catch how fast this gleam of light was, or what exactly had happened, but the only thing they did see was that the man who had spoken was now beheaded and lying on the ground.
Xiao Lei's cold eyes stared at the corpse, and he snorted. "You think you can call others trash with your meager ability?" He then shook his head and patted Xue Wei's shoulder.
For some reason, Xue Wei was not shocked by what he saw; his eyes were observing the murder of the brave man who had stood up to Xiao Lei without blinking. Not even a grimace appeared on his face when he saw the blood splurt from the severed neck, or when the corpse toppled over.
The other people present on the other hand panicked. Screams appeared everywhere, and many tried fleeing for their lives, but then it turned eerily quiet as they all felt that their bodies went limp and they collapsed on the ground.
"Look at all you able men and women," Xiao Lei mocked, "One person dies and you all become panicked, yet my 'useless' nephew, who you all look down upon can stand here calmly and observe what is happening. I wonder who is truly the useless one here."
He glared at them all, and they felt their bodies tremble. They all knew that Xiao Lei was a great warrior of the Heavenly Warrior rank. A fighter who had slain more than one Primordial Beast, and a hero of mankind.
But today they also realized that he was a murderous and decisive man who did not care much for the lives of the common man, and their hearts were filled with fear.
"If I ever hear anyone call my nephew trash in the future, then don't blame me for being rude," he said in a low voice, but although he did not speak very loudly, the voice traveled through the entire Tiankong City, stunning even the ones who had not known what was going on.
Having said what he wished to say, Xiao Lei turned around and gently led Xue Wei towards the City Lord's mansion where the Shen family was waiting for them.
What had happened spread throughout Tiankong City in less than an hour, and even the City Lord's Mansion knew about the incident before Xiao Lei and Xue Wei even made it to their destination.
"This Xiao Lei is truly a troublesome person," Shen Bingwen, the City Lord of Tiankong City, sighed to himself when he heard the report. "Although he is a hero of mankind and a legend in the eyes of all the younger generation geniuses within the entire Heping Kingdom. He should know better than to suddenly kill a random person on the street."
"I cannot send him to jail, nor will I be able to in any way judge him, even though there are multiple witnesses. They would never dare to go against him."
"Well, when looking at who is most important, that Ordinary Warrior was no big loss, but if Xiao Lei is punished we might lose a great fighting power, and he might even leave Tiankong City."
The City lord was confused. He knew that as a city lord he had to uphold justice for the murdered family, but at the same time, he also knew that there was no way he could accuse Xiao Lei. And truthfully, Xiao Lei was a good friend of his, so he did not wish to impede him.
"Take out hundred gold coins," he ordered a servant, "and give them to the family of the slain commoner and let the matter end there."
Usually, a life lost would not amount to more than twenty or thirty gold, but this was a very important case as it was Xiao Lei who had murdered the man. Paying extra to make sure that they could live a good life was the solution that Shen Bingwen reached after careful consideration.
"Xiao Lei and his nephew Xue Wei have arrived!" a servant announced for Sheng Bingwen, and the City Lord nodded his head, "Go fetch Little Mu and bring him to the study!" he ordered, and started moving towards the study himself.
When he reached the study, he found that two people had already been led inside, one adult and one child.
Contrary to what Shen Bingwen had expected, this child did not seem at all as he had been informed. His eyes were sparkling with intelligence that was rare for a ten-year-old, and his head was held high and not bent down as he carried himself with a certain aura that made him seem sophisticated and not at all as useless as everyone called him.
"Hello, my dear friends," Shen Bingwen called out while spreading his arms wide and a great smile appeared on his lips.
"Xiao Lei, it is great to see you again. It has been two or three years since I last saw you! What have you been up to?"
"And to think that you arrived back home with a family member! No one knows anything about you – the only thing we know is that you became a very famous Hunter after killing three Primordial Beasts."
Xue Wei listened with rapt attention and wide open eyes. He was very curious about this uncle of his who seemed to care so much about him, but who also never spoke about himself. This made him very curious as to what exactly his uncle was like in the eyes of others.
He had already noticed that the maids and servants at home revered Xiao Lei as a god, but to hear that even esteemed experts like Shen Bingwen looked up to Xiao Lei surprised Xue Wei and made his heart swell with pride.
Xiao Lei was surprised and slightly embarrassed as he heard his achievements being told in front of Xue Wei, and he quickly changed the topic, "Where is Shen Mu? I am sure that Little Wei and he will become great friends."
As if he heard his name being called, a young boy appeared in the study. "Father, you called for me," he said with a glance at Xue Wei and Xiao Lei, curiosity clear on his face.
"Yes, yes, our good friend Xiao Lei has returned, and he has brought with him his nephew, Xue Wei."
"Xue Wei happens to be as old as you are, so why don't the two of you become friends?" As Shen Bingwen said this, Shen Mu looked at Xue Wei curiously and nodded his head, "It is my honor to meet the nephew of our famed hero Xiao Lei," Shen Mu introduced himself with a slight bow that Xue Wei quickly returned.
"It is me who is honored," Xue Wei said, his voice clear as the cloudless sky. Although he said so, his face remained emotionless and calm, and silence descended onto the study.
Xiao Lei and Shen Bingwen both began chatting with one another about what had happened within Tiankong City lately while Xiao Lei had been absent, and they also broached the subject of killing commoners.
"Don't worry," Xiao Lei laughed. "Although I am not willing to kill more people, they will be very careful before they speak in the future. But I refuse to accept anyone bullying my nephew!"
Seeing this, Shen Bingwen raised a brow. He could feel how deeply Xiao Lei cared for Xue Wei, but he also felt that there was more to this. It felt as if Xiao Lei had great expectations from Xue Wei. But what exactly could Xiao Lei expect from a person who could not cultivate?